Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Mikalojus Daukša
(circa 1527-1538 - 1613)

Variant forms of name: Daugsza, Nikolajus Dauksza, Daukszus, Jonas Daukša, Daukšas, N. Daukši.

    M. Daukša is one of the most prominent Lithuanian writers of the Renaissance epoch. He was born in an ancient noble family circa years 1527-1538 in Babėnai, between Kėdainiai and Dotnuva. Presumably he studied in one of the Western European universities, since he was a person of comprehensive humanist education. In the year 1570 M. Daukša became a dean at Krakės. In 1572 he became a canon and moved to Varniai, at the same remaining the dean of Krakės. He was in close relationship with bishop M. Giedraitis and canon, also famous as historian, M. Strijkovskis (Stryjkowski). In 1580, being a canon and a dean at Krakės, he also was appointed an emeritus of Kražiai chapel. In the years 1585-1592 he was an official of the Samogitian diocese, and in fact, an actual governor of the whole diocese. In 1592 he acquired administration of Betygala parsonage instead of Krakės. After the death of bishop M. Giedraitis, in 1609-1610 M. Daukša was an administrator of the diocese. He died in Varniai in the year 1613.
    M. Daukša had published the first books in Lithuanian in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. He was an activist of the Counterreformation and propagandist of Catholicism. He prepared for print on the instructions of his benefactor bishop M. Giedraitis who also provided funds. M. Daukša translated from Polish language Catechism (Catechism, or Science Obligatory to Every Christian) by J. Ledesma that was printed in Vilnius in 1595. This is the first book printed in Lithuania in Lithuanian language that reached our times.
    The most significant work of M. Daukša was a translation of selected sermons by J. Wójek to Lithuanian language. The book was published in Vilnius in 1599 under the title "The Catholic Postilla, that Is Presentation of Gospels for Each Week and Feast Day all Through the Year". This translation is one of the most important monuments of ancient Lithuanian literature, and its "Preface Unto Benevolent Reader". It is considered as a hymn to Lithuanian language of beauty unexcelled until our days and remains inceptive of affection to mother tongue for every generation of Lithuanians.